felt loved. God does answer prayer. Mark was more mature, more disciplined as expected and his heart… well, it grew even bigger. Although he is miles and miles away from me, has a rigorous schedule and I have mine, we still talk – just not as often. His main concern isn’t dying, he says, it’s being remembered. Mark’s story is a long one; to record it all would require a biography (which he implores me to write). Yet, it isn’t the overall meaning of his story which is most important. It’s in the hidden details of his life in which he searched for God and thanked him. In various ways, Mark “saved” me. He enabled me from going throughout life without appreciating what I had. I’ve learned life isn’t as hard as I often had made it out to be and to never judge anyone. “I’ve been through a lot,”
Mark said with his voice low. “… and I shouldn’t have to tell people my story in order for them to just take me as I am.” It’s a piece of a conversation I’ll never forget. “Pay attention to the small things,” he urged. “The details count. You know, I try hard, but I thank God for the little things. My mother always taught me never to give up, to work hard… to do right. And even if I go to war, I’m not going to be afraid. Ashley, if you have God on your side you never have to be afraid. You know what…” he loved starting sentences that way, “even if I go to war and die, don’t be sad. My body may be dead, but my spirit will be alive in heaven.” He laughed. “I guess in that way I never really die, huh?” Mark ended that conversation praying for God’s protection on us. He’d say, “Take care, Ash” and hang up with an “I’ll talk to you soon.”
To me, Mark is a living testimony that despite where we come from, what we start with, regardless of our circumstances, God can and will turn our situation around if we are determined to be better. Mark was a person who used what he had and understood with it, he could use it to propel himself forward. And every now and then when I hear the question “Why do bad things happen to good people?” I smile. Not because of the terrible circumstance, but because I know how beautiful the outcome can be. *Author’s note: Mark’s name has been changed in order to protect his privacy. All other facts in this article are true.
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In the Light Magazine second issue focuses on embracing who you are in Christ.